Jun 28th 2022

Cardiac rehab team helps transplant patient to walk again

A teenage heart and kidney transplant patient has told how an online exercise class run by the cardiac rehabilitation team has helped her to walk again.

Courtney Price, aged 17, underwent the gruelling 12-hour operation in July last year and was left struggling to walk for longer than a few minutes. But thanks to the cardiac rehabilitation team at City Hospital, Birmingham, she can now indulge in her favourite past time – shopping in her local Primark.

Courtney, from West Bromwich, said: “When I came round after the operation I couldn’t walk. As I started to recover getting around still wasn’t easy and I could barely get around the house, let alone go outside. I would get very tired.

“The physio staff at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital where I had the operation helped me to sit up, stand and use the stairs and were helpful and nice to me and my family. When I got home I couldn’t walk very far and that’s when the exercise physiologist Jake O’Brien from the cardiac rehab team at City Hospital helped me to become stronger and regain all the muscles that I lost due to being in bed.

“He was so considerate and was constantly making sure I was ok throughout.

“When I began I could just about do 10 minutes, now I’m able to do the entire 30 minute class and am much stronger than before. The online class with Jake is once a week and I also do another exercise produced by the team in my own time. And I also go out walking. Most importantly, it’s given me my freedom back and really boosted my confidence.

“I love going shopping and have really missed it. But I can get round Primark now without any problems.”

Courtney was diagnosed with a rare kidney condition called MPGN Type 2, a disease that affects the filters of the kidneys. Unfortunately, her body rejected the transplanted kidney soon after her operation. She is due to undergo another transplant in the future.

Her mum Lorraine, 47, who is her full-time carer, said: “The way that Jake and the team have cared for Courtney has been brilliant. Having these online sessions have helped immensely and have really improved her health and fitness.

“Courtney is still on dialysis, so we have to be careful. It’s so important she builds up her strength and we can’t thank Jake enough for what he has done for her. Courtney has missed out on so much over the past year – her prom, spending time with her school friends. It’s been hard. So for her to be able to get out and about again has been good for her both mentally and physically.”

Jake said: “Courtney has been under the care of the cardiac rehabilitation team for the last six months. During this time, we have all been inspired by her progress and her transformation which has been achieved by her bravery, motivation and sheer determination.   

“We focused the exercise prescription primarily on functional movement to ensure Courtney could return to her usual daily activities as quickly and safely as possible.  

“She is due to have a further kidney transplant and our plan is to continue to build up Courtney’s fitness even further in preparation for this, as higher functional capacity has been linked to reduced recovery time following major surgery.   

“Our cardiac rehabilitation team includes cardiac nurse specialists, exercise physiologists and cardiac rehabilitation assistants. We see patients with a wide range of cardiac conditions some of whom may have multiple conditions.  

“We not only provide the exercise component of cardiac rehabilitation, the cardiac nurse specialists also lead the clinics treating patients who have had a heart attack, cardiology pre-admission clinics and also cardiac device clinics. Now that we have returned to the cardiac rehab gym at City Hospital, we look forward to welcoming more of our patients to the department for their rehabilitation.” 

 


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